IDEA Faculty Guide

The IDEA course evaluation process “cycle” consists of four steps, which are mapped out below along with accompanying resources. The guide notes the points at which faculty members are requested to take particular actions.

Step 1: Plan

Successful use of IDEA depends on planning ahead, in part at the program level and in part at the course level. At the program (major/minor) level, you’ll want to work with your colleagues to map out the relationships between the IDEA Student Learning Objectives and each of your courses. Much of the 2013 faculty workshops work on this is captured in the Excel file matrix of IDEA Objectives and Courses below.

IDEA Student Learning Objectives [List]

Google Spreadsheet Matrix of Courses and IDEA Objectives

At the course level, you may wish to integrate the IDEA objectives you’ve identified for the course directly into the syllabus. The IDEA center has some examples of how this might look.

Sample syllabi integrating IDEA objectives [IDEA Center resource]

*ACTION: Identify your “long form” course

At some point during each term you teach in (excluding May and Summer terms), you will receive from the Institutional Research Office a web questionnaire asking you which course you would like to select as your one “long form” course. This is the course in which you will administer the IDEA diagnostic or “long” form, which will provide you with more in-depth information on pedagogy, assignments and other aspects of teaching. To view a list of courses you are currently teaching, and the evaluation status of each (short form, diagnostic form, or exempt) follow this link.

Some possible reasons for opting for the long form include:

  • New course launch
  • Your desire to revise a course
  • Faculty development programming
  • Promotion & tenure review preparation
  • Course review (e.g., GC Core)

Example Learning Outcomes (short) form
Example Diagnostic Feedback (long) form
Note that these are the paper versions, but the questions are identical to the online versions we use.

In addition, we ask the following three GC-specific questions on all evaluations:
[Response scale: 1=Not at all; 2=Somewhat; 3=Quite a bit; 4=Very much; N/A]

  1. To what extent did the instructor relate the GC core values to the subject matter?
  2. To what extent was the instructor’s commitment to the GC core values evident throughout the course?
  3. To what extent did this course contribute to your faith development?

Step 2: Implement

When the evaluation period opens at the end of the term, you and your students will receive emails calling you to action.

*ACTION: Complete your Faculty Information Form (FIF) and Add Custom Questions

Prior to the end of the term, you will receive an email notifying you that you can access the IDEA system online to complete the faculty information form (FIF) for each of your courses. The fundamental reason for completing the FIF is to identify which of the 12 IDEA objectives are (E)ssential or (I)mportant for your course. These decisions will impact how your results are calculated. If you have provided default FIF information for your course(s) to the IR office, this will be saved in the IDEA system and will be pre-populated each term. You can submit new or changed default FIF information to the IR office, and we will update the IDEA system. The FIF will also ask several contextual questions that impact your results by statistically controlling for factors you are unable to influence.

IDEA has published a four-part series of blog entries to guide you in completing the FIF:

  1. Purpose of the Faculty Information Form
  2. How to select learning objectives
  3. Why your selection of objectives is important
  4. Contextual questions

You may also find these resources helpful in completing your FIF:

Guidance for Selecting Learning Objectives

Disciplinary Selection of Objectives (general patterns of objective selection for your field)

Custom Questions

The IDEA system supports the addition of custom questions for each course section. Faculty members can add these questions at the same time that they review the FIF information. Below is a link to instructions for how to add custom questions:

*ACTION: Encourage Students

Your students will receive email invitations and multiple reminders until they complete all of their course evaluations. Your encouragement, though, is a major factor in whether they complete evaluations. By letting them know that their feedback is important to you, you can increase your response rates.

You can also place the link below directly into your Moodle site if you wish to make it easier for students to access their evaluations. Placing this link in Moodle would also facilitate in-class administration if your students have access to iPads or mobile devices (the IDEA form will even work on a smart phone):

If you wish to give extra credit for students who complete the evaluation, note that you may access a course roster with detail on which students have and have not completed the evaluation. Visit your IDEA portal for this information (see the link in MyGC or bookmark

Step 3: Review

After the IDEA evaluation period has closed and after the grade submission deadline, you will receive an email notifying you that your results are ready to review. The email you receive will include a PDF with basic results, but we encourage you to access the online system for much more useful reporting.

Here are several IDEA resources to aid you in accessing and interpreting your results:

Brief Guide to interpreting IDEA results online in Campus Labs
Webinar on accessing and interpreting IDEA results [16 minutes]

Overall Summary of GC Results by Term (via Google Drive; login required)

Step 4: Adjust

Particularly for the course in which you use the diagnostic form, the IDEA results system will include links to a variety of white papers on how you might adjust your course to strengthen student learning. You can also access those papers here:

  • POD-IDEA notes on instruction – Succinct papers were written in collaboration with the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD). As a resource to support teaching improvement, each is useful to anyone wanting to address specific ways to employ different teaching methods – each of which is utilized in the Diagnostic Form of the IDEA Student Ratings of Instruction.

The IDEA Center website also has many resources to support your work with your results. You may wish to visit:

Our hope is to provide templates to scaffold your reflection on IDEA results and assist you in keeping track of changes you’d like to implement in the future. We will incorporate that content here as it is developed in conjunction with the assessment committee.